Vacations are great. The most profound change I made in my life was finding the courage to turn the key and just drive north out of the county leaving my well-being to fate. I ignored all the financial fears which previously kept me home. I ignored the co-dependent voice in my head that believed the world would fall apart without me. I just cleaned up my house and organized my life as well as I could–quickly–and left. Since that moment I’ve spent more time away from home than home, and away from home now feels more like home than home. And guess what? The world did just fine without me!
Then the season ended and I found myself back trying to settle down into new routines; overwhelmed, under-prepared and tossed into the midst of a fast running city filled with smog and stressed commuters–a pace much faster than I’ve been accustomed to.
Yes, vacations are great, but they can’t become the only reason that we go to work or wake up. The vacation can’t just be some escape, or some reprieve. The vacation should be an enhancement which serves to further extend the adventure our lives already are. That is to say that our purpose should remain essential to our being no matter where we are, whether in Joshua Tree enjoying the solace of the desert, or in San Diego, which can feel pretty cramped sometimes.
Coming back from extended months on the road has proved to be the hardest transition I’ve made, and I’ve long felt that Into the Wild syndrome start to onset–the want to just sell all my shit and take off. That’s not a very viable solution though–not anymore. I projected the blame for my angst and dissatisfaction onto the city and the newcomers moving in and gentrifying. In truth the blame falls on me, because I allow my mentality to shift and my attitude to change. The solution does not lie in blame or self-pity or pouting. The solution lies in being able to adapt.
If I can’t find happiness here in San Diego, then the happiness that I’m finding on the road is not from within, and it can then easily be stripped. The happiness I want to experience is one that follows me wherever I go, on any occasion and at anytime as long as I keep my mind healthy.
When thinking on this I found that I make San Diego, my home, all about work when I’m here, and I allow my life to become overrun with a busy schedule as I try and make up for all the time that I’m gone. I’ve begun to associate home with suffering. It has become this tedious place that I’m attached to and must return to after months of freedom. That’s not the truth though, because my grandest adventures occured here.
I’ve been working on implementing this idea into my life since I got back from my last trip in the mountains, and when I fell and got hurt I was forced to adapt to my new circumstances, and part of those circumstances was being stuck in San Diego for the remainder of the Summer. It forced me to reevaluate what I did before I became obsessed and spoiled by rock climbing adventures. I found myself back in the water, and fixing up by bike, pulling out the slack line, having a blast with my Mom and Grandpa, and getting closer to my friends here in town–and making new ones! Before I knew it I was having fun again, and I was just as psyched to be here as in the mountains.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d be happy to be on the road right now, or climbing in the Winds, but I’m not. I’m at home recovering from injuries and repairing my neglected adult life, but that doesn’t mean I need to be miserable doing it.
Things outside of us are great, but I think that learning to rely on those things as a sole source of happiness is a crutch and leads to a slippery slope. We can’t always surround ourselves with places and things and people that make us happy, and when we are in a place where none of those things are present, that is when we have to take a look into that dark place we force ourselves to hide in the majority of the time while we’re distracted by all the shiny bobbles in life.
So maybe, since vacations are so goddamn great, we can just become the vacation, and we can bring it with us anywhere we go. No more disappointment, just an unhindered freedom to be psyched and creative, here, there, or anywhere.